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What Does it Take to Get You There?

Today is a red letter day for me. Three years ago I reached my goal of losing 35 pounds. Three years on, I’ve maintained my new weight and am still enjoying the healthy lifestyle and enjoying the benefits.


Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve  come to love working out, and that for me it’s always been a creative process. That’s why I joined a pole dance class twenty months ago, and I’m still loving it. Next weekend will be my second pole shoot. I shared the  journey of getting to that first pole shoot with all of you lovelies last year.


For me, the fitness journey began as a way to combat depression. I hadn’t expected it to be such a life-changing experience. One of the reasons I do enjoy it is because I consider a workout a creative process. I know how to put together a routine for myself with any equipment or with none at all. And now that I have my own pole at home, I am beginning to make up my own workouts for pole as well. What does it take to get you there? I suppose that’s the big question I asked myself every day along the journey, whether it’s fitness, maintaining my weight, or writing, and I still do. It’s also the big question of my novella In Training. What do you want? How badly do you want it? And what does it take to get you there?  What inspires you enough to make you pull out all the stops and totally go for … well for anything that really matters?


My own journey being what it has been, it’s not surprising that my heroine, PR guru Lauren Michaels, has to find her own reason for pushing herself. A gym is the last place she wants to be, but her boss has just made her the ‘get fit’ star in a reality fitness TV show with bad boy personal trainer, Wolf Jennings, who will get her there even if he has to drag her kicking and screaming. At least that’s his plan. But it’s only when she finds her reason to push that Lauren decides she really wants to “get there,” and she wants to do it with Wolf Jennings. Here’s a little excerpt.


In Training Blurb:

Getting fit on reality TV is PR guru, Lauren Michael’s, brainchild for gym equipment and fitness company Physicality, Inc. The brilliant PR stunt involves one brave volunteer who wants to be fit badly enough to submit to the not so tender training techniques of personal trainer, Wolf Jennings, whose successful, but non-conventional, methods would make a drill sergeant look like a fluff ball. But when CEO and owner of Physicality, Inc, Claire Amos, decides her PR ace in the hole needs to walk the talk , Lauren finds herself between a kettle bell and a hard place … er a hard trainer. That’s nightmare enough, but for six weeks, 24/7 the explosive chemistry between the two will be sweated out live on camera for the whole world to see. What could possibly go wrong?


Wanna Bet? In Training Excerpt:

“On your knees, Michaels! Do it on your knees. You can’t do a full press-up until we strengthen those spaghetti arms. Do it like this.” He demonstrated the modified press-up. “Now I want you to do as many as you can in thirty seconds.” While thirty seconds lasted forever, as many press-ups as Lauren could do didn’t take long at all before she fell to the mat with her arms trembling. “Damn it Michaels, you gotta be willing to push yourself. I can’t do it for you.” He reset his timer. “Do it again.”


“Well this isn’t an auspicious beginning, Misty,” Del Allan said as they observed the training session going on in the gym below. “As much as I admire Claire Amos for believing her people should walk the talk, it’s clear to me that Lauren Michaels’ heart just isn’t in it. One has to wonder why the waste of time, energy and money for someone who doesn’t want to be here when there are so many who really do. I’ve said it before, I hope Physicality has a back-up plan because I’m betting Lauren Michaels won’t make it to the end of the week.”

“The real question, Del, is not whether Wolf Jennings can ‘get someone there,’ but whether he can motivate someone to wanthim to. Certainly this is a world away from what Lauren is used to, and apparently she didn’t know she’d be participating until twenty-four hours before.”


It was near the end of the fourth day when Lauren finally broke. “I can’t do any more,” she gasped after what seemed like miles of lunge walking back and forth across the gym with a dumb bell in each hand — dumb bells that got heavier with each step. “I need the hot tub. When do I get to use the hot tub?”

“When you’ve earned it,” Jennings growled. “Now do it again.”

“I hate you,” she forced the words out, no longer caring if the ever-present cameras picked up her remark or not. She reckoned that would be one more reason for the ‘sack Lauren and hire me’ faction to tweet nasty things about her. It’s not as if she wouldn’t trade places with them in a heartbeat.

“I’m not here for you to like,” came the reply. “Keep your back straight, shoulders back. Head up!”

She was halfway across the gym when one of the dumb bells slipped from her sweaty fingers, hit the floor with a loud crash, and she tripped over it doing into a belly flop in the middle of the gym.

“Get up. Keep going,” Wolf yelled, jogging effortlessly to her side. “Don’t be a wimp, Michaels. Finish it. I don’t train babies. Stop whinging and keep going.”

“I hate you.” This time she all but yelled it as she hefted the sweaty dumb bell and forced her way forward a couple more steps before she dropped the weight again — this time on her foot. It was only a glancing blow. She jerked away just in time, but it was enough. It was fucking enough! She dropped the other weight next to its fallen compadre and stormed back across the gym.

“Where the hell do you think you’re going?” He said, “You’re not done yet.”

“Oh yes I am.” She grabbed up her sports drink and her towel.

“What? Are you a quitter, Michaels?” Jennings stepped in front of her effectively blocking her way, “Is that it?”

“What I am is sick of you yelling at me, sick of you treating me like a sub-human.” She hadn’t planned it, but when he didn’t move, it just happened. A quick twist of the lid on her sports drink and she let it fly. Her aim was true, hitting Jennings in the face with a shower of bright orange Lukozade. Then she stomped off toward her room. She hadn’t expected him to follow her, but then there were a lot of things she hadn’t expected about the man she’d met at the pub less than a week ago.

Legs still screaming from the workout, she took the stairs two at a time with him gaining on her fast. At the top, he called after her. “They’re taking bets on how soon you’ll quit. Did you know that, Michaels?”

She stopped, dead in her tracks, as though she were suddenly frozen to the spot. For a second she squeezed her eyes shut, fighting back tears. Then she took a deep breath, squared her shoulders and headed back toward the stairs, stopping in front of him to meet his cold glare. “Then they’ll lose.”

Fucking hell! Did she just say that? Surely she didn’t mean it. She would do almost anything to get out of this chamber of horrors, and yet here she was marching back downstairs, picking up the goddamned dumb bells, taking a deep breath and willing her legs to move forward. When she got to the end, instead of stopping, she gave Jennings a defiant glare, from where he now stood at the foot of the stairs, then she turned and headed back across. Somewhere a long way off, she could hear gasps and chatter from Wolf’s mezzanine fan club, but it didn’t matter. The world around her narrowed to the in and out drag of her breath, the pain in her quads and the slow step and lunge, step and lunge, that pulled her forward.

At the end, she dropped the dumb bells and bent over gasping, eyes clenched shut, hands on her knees. When at last she had the strength to stand up, she was surprised to find him next to, hair still dewed in orange. He handed her a bottle of water and a towel. While she drank, he wiped his face on his shirt.

She didn’t look at him, she was still battling the urge to cry. She knew all eyes were on her. After the drama she was now embarrassed to have caused, that was a given. But it was only Wolf Jenning’s eyes she felt in ways that were somehow even more intimate than his kiss at the pub. At last she handed him back the bottle and struggled to meet his gaze.

“That’s better,” he said. “Now drop and give me ten. Pull a stunt like that again and I’ll shove you on the treadmill till your Reeboks wear out.”

She did as he ordered, counting each press-up out loud and hardly feeling the effort, dazed as she was by what had just happened.

The 1003rd Post!


The 1000th post on A Hopeful Romantic completely took me by surprise, so I’m celebrating 1003 posts as an after-thought. I’d planned to rent a big hall in London, hell I’d even thought I might rent one in New York and Los Angeles as well. I’d planned to have a band, Champaign fountains, fireworks, dancing. Oh I had a really huge soirée in mind.

I’d planned to wear a midnight blue off the shoulder number made of shimmery, silky fabric, that if it didn’t make me exactly look like a fairy princess, certainly would have made me look like a very wicked witch with some very naughty magic in mind. And Raymond, well I’d planned for him to wear a kilt for the occasion and some serious bad-boy boots. He would have looked SO scary-hot.

It would have been the party of the century, I’m sure. But instead the 1000th post sneaked up on me and bit me in the butt when I wasn’t looking.

Since I’m too late to throw a big party, I thought I’d hit the highlights in pictures instead.

The Initiation of Ms Holly Started it all almost exactly five years ago. I was bursting with pride at the success of my lovely First Born.




The lovely Lucy Felthouse advised me that if I had a book, I should have a website and a blog for pimping
purposes and well, just so I could make myself known to the great big world of readers and writers out there. She designed my website and blog and helped me figure out just what the hell I was doing. And here she is, looking lovely and lusty at the launch of The Initiation of Ms Holly in Sh! Women’s Store! Thanks EP!





There were launch parties and readings and events in London and Las Vegas and Scarborough and Cardiff, to name just a few.



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Soon Holly wasn’t alone. Her family grew and grew to include 11 novels, 6 novellas and countless short stories.




I got to be on telly!


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I decided I’d have twice the fun, twice the Romance and Grace Marshall was born and so were the Executive Decision novels.


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I wrote about walking





I wrote about gardening.


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I shared my travels.

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I won ETO’s Best Erotic Author Award 2014!





I posted about writing and the creative process and my experiences as a writer.


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I became a Brit Babe.


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I made fabulous friends and had some amazing people on my blog.




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After 1st read-thru 1 July 2013


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I shared the experience of collaborating with the lovely Moorita Encantada writing Medusa: The Eye of the Beholder a burlesque play.







I wrote my first ever M/M and my first ever vampire story for the fabulous box set, Brit Boys on Boys


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I explored the online serial, first with Demon Interrupted, a Lakeland Witches novella.


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Now with something totally different in my ongoing online series In The Flesh.



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For 1003 blog posts I’ve been sharing my writing adventure and inviting other writers and artists and interesting people to do likewise. For 1003 posts I’ve been celebrating the written word, which is and always has been the passion of my life. For every picture, every memory shared, there are a thousand that I wish I could. It’s been an amazing 1003 posts! I can hardly wait to see what the next 1003 bring.

Thanks to all of the lovely people who have been my guests throughout those 1003 blogs and to all the lovely people who read and follow A Hopeful Romantic and especially to those who follow my blog because they enjoy my books. You’re all fabulous, and I hope to see you at the BIG soiree when I celebrate the 2003rd post. (If somebody would just, please, remind me at about post 1950 so I can hire the band and the fireworks blokes :-))